It looked like the CSU women’s basketball team might have a bad case of d/j/ vu in the game against Brigham Young on Saturday. The story was the same but fortunately for the Rams, the ending was different.
The nationally televised game was as exciting as it was important. For just the second time this season the Rams took the game into overtime. But unlike last time, they won this contest.
CSU, which lost to Wyoming in overtime two weeks ago, came out with the intensity of a team in a must-win situation. The greatness of a team can be measured by what it can take from a loss.
“I think the Wyoming game really helped us,” senior forward Ashley Augspurger said. “We learned that whoever goes out in overtime the hardest wins.”
CSU went in hard against the Cougars and beat them in overtime for the third time in the series’ history. BYU has beaten the Rams twice in overtime; the last time was also the last time the Cougars have won in Fort Collins, the 1993-94 season.
It seems, however, the CSU players and coaches have found the key to overtime success: confidence.
“We were always planning on winning the game,” junior forward Joy Jenkins said. “We knew we were going to win.”
That was the attitude that gave Jenkins the confidence to block the potential game-winning lay up by Kestlee Nelson as time expired. Jenkins made the most of her TV appearance, coming off the bench to go 9 for 12 and scoring a season-high 19 points. Seven of those points came in overtime.
The game showed many similarities to the one in Wyoming: Both teams are fierce rivals, both played physical games, both games were momentum-turners.
“I’m not a betting man,” head coach Chris Denker said, “but if I was, I’d bet this’ll build momentum for us.”
That’s momentum for a team that sorely needs it. Having not won an away game in Mountain West Conference play this season, the Rams will have to face their demons on the road against Air Force Thursday night and New Mexico on Saturday.
“I think it’s good to have this week to build momentum,” Denker said. “We’re on the road to two teams we’ve already beaten this season so I think we’re confident going into those games.”